Hot Spots: First Dates

Dating here is casual — as in any college setting. Our social scene just doesn’t nurture romance. On-the-dance-floor make-outs and party hopping all night doesn’t leave much room for heartfelt conversations and fairytale beginnings.

With so many students who aren’t looking for a real relationship, the hardest part is getting the date. Don’t get us wrong, though. It is possible.

And once you lasso them in, the actual date doesn’t need to be stressful! Most students we talked to share the sentiment that dates need to be kept simple. Elaborate meals and high bills are anything but comfortable for a first date.

Luckily, there are plenty of options for relaxed dates to meet the needs of Penn Staters all around the valley. Here are a few low-pressure but fun get-together ideas for a first date:


The Arboretum– If it’s not too cold, Penn State’s Arboretum is a great place to bring a date, and it has become an increasingly popular special spot for couples. Megan O’Hara, a freshman from Pittsburgh, PA calls the Arboretum is her favorite date spot.

“Sometimes it’s nice to just walk around and talk,” she says.

There are plenty of quiet places to sit in the Arboretum, as well as paths to stroll and artful plant life to take in (or lights in the winter). Making this an afternoon outing is a perfect way to take the pressure off and keep the date feeling laid back. Grab a hot chocolate and head over to this spot for a great outdoor date!

OrhanYilmaz.FirstDateSpot-kiwiKiwi Frozen Yogurt– You’ve probably been to Kiwi with your friends, but how about for a first date? Conveniently located downtown, Kiwi is a sweet spot for keeping things low-key.

“It’s best to keep things simple; get to know each other,” says freshman Marianne Grice.

Part of the fun is coming up with your own flavor combo, which could easily spark conversation. Enjoy some frozen yogurt indoors or out; this date is perfect for a weekend afternoon or a casual meet-up after dinner during the week.

Concert in the HUB– This one might require a bit of planning, but a concert in the HUB is a fun choice for a first date. There is always something going on, and usually tickets to these events aren’t as expensive as a ticket to a show in the Bryce Jordan Center.

This month, SPA brought Asher Roth and The White Panda to Alumni Hall — for free. This is an example of one of the many great acts Penn State students could take advantage of for a first date.

OrhanYilmaz.FirstDateSpot-Irving'sIrving’s– This off campus coffee hotspot provides a great atmosphere for a relaxed date. It’s important to remember that a first date doesn’t always have to be dinner! Students shared that full meals can often feel awkward.

O’Hara says, “something that’s not eating, its nice, it’s different.”

Home to plenty of tables and a wide array of drink options, this is the perfect spot to meet a date for a cup of coffee, a smoothie or the seasonal apple cider.

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